For many people, plumbing is that ‘dirty job that someone else has to do’. Because most people don't give a second thought to their plumbing until a problem arises, it's often not given the attention it deserves. In reality, plumbing is the one system that your home absolutely can't be without. It keeps your home clean, hygienic and safe, allows you to cook properly, and helps you regulate the temperature. Without plumbing you'd have no hot water, no gas to cook with, no flush toilets, no swimming pools and no air conditioners.
What do plumbers do?
The short answer is that they plan, install, maintain and repair all the systems in your house which allow water and gas to flow in and out. Consider where these systems exist: bathrooms, toilets, kitchens, laundries, swimming pools, barbecues, air conditioners and so forth - all around your home. What you generally see with all of these systems is the end fixture - the toilet, the air conditioner unit and the kitchen sink.
What you don't often see is all of the piping, valves and fittings that allow these systems to work. These have been carefully selected, arranged and installed inside your wall cavities by plumbers and gasfitters, to allow your plumbing to operate effectively, quietly, and in a way that keeps you and your family safe.
Why can't I fix or install my own plumbing?
There's a lot more to plumbing than meets the eye, and the way that plumbing works is very carefully regulated in Australia in order to keep it safe.
Sewage and waste, for example, have to be managed carefully in order to avoid the dangers of exposure to harmful bacteria and poisonous gases. Natural and LPG gas are highly combustible, and require special care and procedures to avoid ignition or explosions.
Regulations also exist to ensure that the water in your hot water tank is of a sufficient temperature to prevent the growth of dangerous legionella bacteria. At the same time, your plumbing also needs to incorporate valves that limit the temperature of the water coming out from your shower, so that it won't burn the skin from your back.
All of these conditions and precautions are just a sample of why any and all plumbing must be done by a licensed plumber in Australia. Taking matters into your own hands, even for a job that looks simple on the surface, could very easily lead to disastrous damage to your property, or even injury or death. It's also likely to spoil any chance of an insurance claim if things do go wrong.
To reiterate: for all plumbing work (beyond perhaps changing a tap), you need to hire a licensed plumber. In most states you should be able to check the plumber's licence online, and for all work carried out you should ask for a safety certificate.
- Visit the federal government's licencerecognition.gov.au site to check if your plumber holds a valid license.